I’m a huge fan of anime, as you could probably tell by my “top 7 anime” and “how to start watching Gundam” posts. I love anime that is heavy hitting, willing lift your spirits and punch you in the gut for daring to feel happy. The story needs to be mature, deep and full of twists. Oh, and if there’s no sense of danger for the characters, I love interest pretty quickly too. In other words, I’m rather picky, even if I love anime as a whole.
So, when the first season of Attack on Titan hit, and the hype levels in the anime community skyrocketed, I had to check it out. Needless to say, I was both impressed and enthralled from the get go! The events of the first season were shrouded in mystery, and the high level of very gruesome deaths of various characters makes you feel like no-one is safe. It’s the same pull as things like Game of Thrones or the older seasons of The Walking Dead. And so, we’ve now got the Attack on Titan Season 2 Blu-Ray set coming out, so I thought it would be great to see whether the second season lives up to the first, or falls flat on its face!
The anime is based on the best-selling manga, written by Hajime Isayama. And when I say “best-selling”, I mean New York Times best-selling! The manga alone has sold over 2.5 million copies, which is outrageous. The base of the plot is built up around Eren, a young boy who lives with the rest of humanity in towns protected by massive walls, which keep the ginormous Titans out. However, when a wall is breached and the Titans attack his home, he is forced to watch as his mother is killed and eaten. From then on, he joins the military and swears to wipe out the Titans once and for all.
The second season of Attack on Titan picks up immediately after the major plot twist reveal at the end of the first season. This is something I was really happy to see, since so many second seasons involve some sort of time jump, not addressing the events of the previous season until a few episodes in. Attack on Titan Season 2 goes straight in, full steam ahead! The action picks up almost immediately, dropping you back into the fray in a truly unforgiving manner.
For those of you who need to see high-octane action within the first few minutes, you won’t be disappointed. And then, the season refused to ease up, ramping up the tension with each episode! I’ve heard many things be called a “tour-de-force”, but Attack on Titan Season 2 really earns that title.
Then, in expert fashion, the season mixes in some great backstory and emotional downtime, flowing seamlessly into the fight scenes and panic. Your emotions will be played with constantly by the show, characters growing on you rapidly, only for them to be torn apart or bitten into pieces shortly after. On top of this, distrust and suspicion are rampant throughout, with you never really knowing who you (and the heroes) can actually trust.
If you were just going to judge Attack on Titan Season 2 by the storyline alone, this would be a box set worth getting immediately!
One of the big things I’ve found over the years is that I prefer to watch subbed anime than dubbed. Yes, I am one of those people. However, I can appreciate a good dub (I actually prefer the dubbed Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex). For Attack on Titan Season 2, I watched the Blu-Ray box set in English dub, and I have to say, it is done very well. The voice actors, including Bryce Papenbrook (Sword Art Online), Trina Nishimura (Steins:Gate), and Josh Grelle (Yuri!!! On Ice), are all extremely talented, and really bring the characters to life (whilst they are alive).
Far too often, the English dubs make everyone sound like they are 10 years old, even if the subject matter of the show doesn’t suit a young audience. Gundam SEED was a great example of this. With Attack on Titan, Funimation has done a great job at making sure the characters sound correct for the material and target audience, who most certainly are not kids!
The picture quality is also through the roof. I’ve watched episodes on my 32″ HD monitor and 50″ HD TV downstairs, and it looked great on both. The action scenes, as fast-paced and incredibly frantic as they were, are so detailed that you never miss a thing. The animation is beautifully executed, and the overall visual aesthetic is of such a high quality that I cannot find fault with it. That is, except for the occasional reliance on CGI. It adds a nice effect, but I would have prefered it if they’d just used the standard computer-drawn anime style for those scenes.
It should also be noted that the anime is directed by Chief Director Tetsuro Araki (who comes with Death Note pedigree) and Director Masashi Koizuka. This, along with character designer Kyoji Asano (of PSYCHO-PASS fame), art director Shunichi Yoshihara (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure) and music composer Hiroyuki Sawano (Kill la Kill) means that there is some true talent behind Attack on Titan Season 2!
Then we come to the sound quality. To begin with, anime opening themes are more often than not incredibly high tempo tracks that seem a bit out of place alongside the material of the show. Even as an anime fan, I have to admit that. After all, we want a true review, don’t we? Well… Attack on Titan Season 2’s opening theme is a refreshing change of pace.
Whilst it is still a fast tempo song, it is also very melodic. It seeps into your soul every time you hear it, building up the tension within you, preparing you for what you’re about to see.
This is true for the entirety of the soundtrack throughout the season. Each song and piece of background music seems to have been very carefully selected, so as to fit with the current events of the show and the overall tone of the story.
Finally, in terms of the boxset itself, the amount of bonus features you get is crazy! So crazy, in fact, that I’m going to have to list them, rather than reel them off mid-sentence!
- Episode Commentaries
- An interview with Trina Nishimura, Tetsuya Kinoshita and Yui Ishikawa from the Anime Expo 2017
- An interview with Hajime Isayama, the creator of Attack on Titan
- Inside the Episode
- Eyecatch Gallery
- A collection of promo videos and trailers
- The ability to remove text from the opening and closing songs
- A 24-page booklet called “Notes From Beyond the Wall: Part III” – Limited Edition Box-Set Only
- A 60-page art book – Limited Edition Box-Set Only
See what I mean? That’s a ridiculous amount of extras to get, on top of a great anime!
Overall, the quality of both the season and the box set itself is so high. You get so much for your money here, that I could barely believe it. I’ve bought a number of boxsets over the years, and I’ve never seen so much awesome stuff packed into it. And no, that isn’t marketing speech; that’s what I actually think!
Now, with all of that out of the way, I guess it’s time to talk money, right? I mean, we all need to know how much things cost so that we can budget for buying them… And a box set like this is going to need budgeting for, right?
Well, not really. You see, the standard DVD set comes in at just £19.99, whilst the standard edition Blu-Ray set weighs in at £29.99. That’s really not that bad! In fact, considering you get 12 episodes, each containing roughly 25 minutes of incredible action scenes, intense story and brilliant animation, it’s really quite good.
In fact, even if you wanted to get the limited edition box set so that you can get the 2 awesome extra, that will only set you back just under £70!
So, yeah… All in all, the cost of the box set is actually really good!
And That’s All Folks
If you’re a fan of more mature, yet utterly brutal and relentless anime, then Attack on Titan, in general, will be right up your street! This is especially true for Attack on Titan Season 2, as it really never lets up. You’ll be on the edge of your seat throughout every episode, and won’t want to put it down! I binged watched the entire season in one night, entirely accidentally, because it was just so good that I kept going onto the next episode. It would not let me go!
Attack on Titan Season 2 comes very highly recommended by me, and is more than worth your time! Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.